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Of Valentine Ninjas and Mountain Men

I think I’ve created a new holiday character. Introducing—the Valentine Ninja! Here’s the story…Feb4005

Back in my Utah days, my roomie Tara and I hosted a Valentine sleepover for the teen and tween girls at the school where we were teaching. That night Tara introduced us all to a “heart attack” as we forked the teen boys’ yards with paper hearts in the dark of night.

I loved it so much that I had been itching to do it ever since. (If you’ve been reading this blog for several years, you might remember that I dragged Stephen along to give the Horkavys a heart attack the first February we were in Arizona.) Well, I couldn’t resist doing it again.Feb4002

But this time, the boys and I gave “heart attacks” in broad daylight to my two closest friends from MOMS Club, Kristy and Randi. We did the dirty deed on a morning when I knew both of them would be at a club board meeting, but I still wanted the boys to be quiet. And thus the Valentine Ninja was christened.Feb4001Feb4003

(Parent tip: One of the best games for noisy little boys to play is Ninjas. They sneak around the house as quietly as possible {which is to say that you have to pretend to ignore them since their “sneaking” is so obvious}, and as long as you don’t glance their direction, you and your spouse can hold an adult conversation without interruption!)

We celebrated Valentine’s Day all week. Tuesday was craft day at the park where the boys decorated valentine boxes and exchanged valentines with their friends. Friday, I dressed Brynn in her valentine tutu so we could surprise Stephen at his office with his gifts. Feb4008(Even mini ballerinas sometimes don’t like to have their picture taken.)Feb5001Feb4007Instead, Cooper decided to go all out for the holiday and contract pink eye. So festive!

Silas got his first WarHeads candy, and it was fun to watch his reaction.Feb4009

Sunday afternoon we loaded up for a family outing at nearby Estrella Mountain Regional Park. Upon seeing the desert hills, Silas excitedly said, “I’ve always wanted to walk up a mountain.” He picked a mountain, and we climbed it. Feb4011Even Cooper made it all the way to the top by himself–though he did need some carrying on the way back to the car.Feb4010Feb4014“Mount Silas” (as we named it) was over 1,200 feet in elevation, which meant we climbed up about 400 feet. Feb4016I’m proud of our hiking crew!2016-02-14 14.56.02aFeb4013

Stephen and I rewarded ourselves with Dutch Brothers iced coffees.

Another Valentine’s Day with the person I love most!

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